Sunday, February 8, 2004 Associated Press MIAMI -- Miami's top recruit will be charged with battery before his probation expires, his attorney said Sunday. Attorney Paul Lazarus expects the State Attorney's Office in Gainesville to charge Willie Williams before Wednesday, when the Parade All-American linebacker's 18-month probation on felony burglary charges ends. The new charges would result in a probation violation, and a warrant could be issued for Williams' arrest. "The State Attorney told me he was proceeding faster than he would like," Lazarus said. "But as an officer of the court, he feels he has an obligation to file charges before Willie's probation expires. That gives Broward County an opportunity to look at a possible probation violation." Lazarus is so sure his client will be charged that he called the Broward County Sheriff's Office in hopes the department will contact him in advance so Williams can surrender without the humility of a public arrest -- possibly at his high school, Miami Carol City. Williams is on probation for felony burglary charges in 2002. He was named last week in three criminal complaints stemming from a recent recruiting trip to the University of Florida. If it is determined that Williams violated the teams of his probation, he could be sentenced up to five years in prison. "He's holding up as well as could be expected given everything that has happened," Lazarus said. "He's optimistic that everything will work out, and he will enroll at the University of Miami and prove to be a good citizen." Miami officials said last week that they will wait to decide whether Williams will be allowed to enroll in school. Williams was less than two weeks from the end of his probation when he was named in the three complaints. He allegedly hugged a female student without her permission, hit a man at a bar and set off three fire extinguishers in his hotel -- all in span of five hours during his recruiting trip that began Jan. 30. The complaints were released the same day Williams signed a letter of intent to play for the Hurricanes. His case has prompted officials at Miami, Florida and Florida State to re-evaluate the way they perform background checks on recruits. All three schools have conceded they didn't know about Williams' arrest record. He has been arrested 10 times since 1999, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records. "I have to acknowledge his past record and I have to acknowledge the crime for which he was placed on probation," Lazarus said. "But my main concern in this case is that the charges in Gainesville are basically high school hijinks. If not for his past record, we probably wouldn't even be reading about this other stuff." Williams was last arrested July 11, 2002, when Pembroke Pines police charged him with burglary and possession of burglary tools, according to the Department of Corrections. Then 17, he was prosecuted as an adult. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 18 months' probation, court records show. Lazarus said he was "shocked" to learn Williams' juvenile record was easily available as a public record. "I'm not a juvenile expert, but it's always been my understanding that juvenile records are not public record," he said. "But even if I cry foul, so what? I can't unring that bell."